For those of you that have been following along you know that Mike and I bought out first house last year. We recently started renovating different areas of our home and have plans to continue. That being said, we do not plan to renovate our kitchen any time soon. It’s not that it couldn’t use a major face lift, but kitchens are expensive and we are trying to do more budget friendly upgrades this year. Plus, if we hold out a few years we’re more likely to be able to put more money into updating the kitchen as opposed to having to cut corners if we renovate now. Keeping all of this in mind I’ve been learning how to embrace an old fashioned kitchen like nobody’s business!
Our house was built in 1953 and I’m pretty sure that the cabinets are original from that era. The countertops and floor seem to be more 1970’s and the appliances are likely late 1990’s. I tend to enjoy some vintage elements within a house, whereas my husband prefers more of a modern and contemporary look. After we moved in and before we unloaded everything into the kitchen I spent time cleaning everything, especially the inside of the cabinets, and preparing them so I could apply contact paper. In order to put down the new contact paper I had to remove the old. What I ended up finding was several layers of different patterned contact paper in each cabinet. It made me feel really sentimental to imagine all of these other women in their new kitchen doing the exact same thing I was doing now…laying down new contact paper and unpacking all of their kitchen items. So, I took out a bunch of the old contact paper, but I also left some of it to as a testament to the families that had lived here before us and loved this house as much as we plan to.
That was my first step in embracing our old fashioned kitchen. After that it was a lot easier for me to acknowledge all of the unique things I loved about it, instead of just focusing on all of the things I didn’t like. I don’t have a light and bright kitchen with white cabinets and a farmhouse sink and that’s okay! I’ve never been good at following the “it” crowd anyway.
Things I Hated, But Now Love
The windows in my kitchen are the old-fashioned style where you turn a crank on the bottom and the window opens outward horizontally. Originally I was concerned that it wasn’t going to allow for good air flow, but I was wrong. The windows over the table and the sink both open wide and give the space a very vintage feel. Also, because of the style of window they are very wide across so when I have the blinds drawn there is a lot of natural light that comes in.
I had a hard time adjusting to the dark cabinets in this old fashioned kitchen. I had wanted white cabinets to lighten up the space and felt that the stain of the wood made the room feel too dark. Originally, I planned to paint the cabinets a lighter color, paint the interior of the cabinets, and put on new door pulls. Now that we’ve been in the house for almost a year I actually like the look of the dark cabinets and am glad I didn’t change them. I may still put on new door pulls, but that should be easy and inexpensive.
This was probably the toughest for me to learn to love. I HATED this floor when we moved in. I hated it BEFORE we even moved in and couldn’t wait to rip it up. Now that we’ve been here for close to a year I’ve learned to appreciate the patterned tile. For one thing it doesn’t show any dirt, which is amazing. That doesn’t mean I don’t ever clean my floor, but it is easier to walk through the kitchen without constantly noticing little streaks and things to be mopped. Another thing is that it’s different. It doesn’t look like everyone else’s kitchen floor and is definitely unique. It’s one of those floors that instagrammers take pictures of their shoes on when they go into hotels and restaurants (see below for example) because of the fun geometric patterns and interesting colors. My husband still does hate the tile, so it will probably eventually be replaced. But, for now it stays and I have embraced it!
Things I Loved Immediately
There is an original 1950’s wall oven installed to the right of our standard stove/oven. It’s a little bit smaller, more narrow and not as deep, as our other oven, but it still works like a charm. It’s perfect for when I’m preparing a meal that requires things to cook at two different temperatures. Or when we have friends over and there is a lot that needs to be heated up.
There is also a wall pantry with a set of three additional drawers below it, upper cabinets, and a long side cabinet in the kitchen. Our last apartment had zero drawers in the kitchen…yes zero…and minimal cabinets. I had to make our coat closet into a pantry so we had a place to store our food! Now that we’re in the house I love having a designated space for all of our food. Plus I use the upper cabinets for cookbooks, the drawers for placemats, oven mitts, and aprons, and the long cabinet for our trash can, mops, and brooms. It’s the perfect set-up.
The kitchen is pretty big, especially compared to our last few apartments. Our house doesn’t have a formal dining room, but there is plenty of space in the kitchen for our kitchen table and chairs. There is actually enough room to have a kitchen island also. I plan to get one of those movable islands to put in the center that way we have extra cooking space.
Things I’ll Never Learn to Love
Countertops and Backsplash
I really, really, really dislike our countertops and backsplash. They match, which in and of itself is enough to dislike, but it’s the pattern that I take exception to. I don’t know what the material is, but the pattern is kind of a swirly tan, blue, pink marble-esque type situation and it’s not good. It kind of reminds me of what outdoor cushions looked like in the 80’s. It could be worse, at least they’re light and don’t stand out too much, but if I could choose to change anything in the kitchen today it would be the countertops and backsplash.
We knew that buying a house that needed cosmetic updates was going to be a fun challenge for us. I assumed we would move in and start updating right away. What I’ve learned is that if you give it a little time you can begin to appreciate the things in the house that make it unique, instead of feeling like you need to start ripping and tearing and making it look like all the houses on HGTV. I’m sure many other young couples walked into this house when it was on the market, took one look at the kitchen, and said “hell no!” But, I’m glad we didn’t. I’m glad we saw the potential in this house and that we’ve learned to embrace the things that make it unique. Up until this month I’ve avoided taking photos for the blog or social media in the kitchen because it didn’t look like everyone else’s. Now that I’ve accepted it doesn’t look like the standard modern kitchen I want to share it!